Healing Veterans – One catch at a time
The Sodus Bay Healing Waters Salmon Slam was held on Lake Ontario on Saturday, August 4th.
It was a non-profit event to take wounded and disabled veterans fishing as a method to get their minds away from a lot of the bad things that have happened in their past.
At 7:00 am, over 50 disabled/wounded veterans and volunteers departed Arney’s Marina in their tournament boats in Sodus Point.
They received an honorary escort by the U.S. Coast Guard through the bay and out into Lake Ontario, where they sped off to begin their fishing for the first annual Sodus Bay Healing Waters Salmon Slam Tournament.
Boats began catching salmon and trout and unlike most tournaments, quickly shared their lure types and fishing areas across the VHF radio for all of the other teams to hear. The teams realized this tournament was not about prizes and glory, but about sharing a hobby they love with the veterans who have sacrificed so much for our nation.
By the end of the morning, fish were caught, memories were made, and everyone had found their smiles. Teams gathered up back at the dock and enjoyed a barbecue while recounting their stories of the big ones that were lost and the ones that were landed. Prizes were given to the biggest fish in each category, and raffle tickets were given to each team based upon the weight of their largest fish. Prizes were then raffled off to both Veterans and Captains.
At weigh in, team Cold Water Affair’s veteran took big fish with a 25lb 5oz chinook salmon. Teams Half Wired’s and Fast and Silver’s veterans tied for second place both with 23lb 13oz chinook salmon.
Team Drag’n Ball’s veteran took home the trophy for the largest brown trout with a 10lb 15oz bruiser. Team Ruff Rider’s veteran took the 1st place rainbow trout at 9lb 15oz.
The Salmon Slam was coordinated by Nicholas and Theresa Allers along with Project Healing Waters (http://www.projecthealingwaters.org). Project Healing Waters is a non-profit organization dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fishing education and outings.